Open Society Foundations


Open Society Foundations (OSF), formerly the Open Society Institute, is a
grantmaking A grant is a funding, fund given by an entity – often a Government, public body, charitable foundation, or a specialised grant-making institution – to an individual or another entity (usually, a non-profit organisation, sometimes a business ...
network founded by business magnate
George Soros George Soros, (born György Schwartz, August 12, 1930) is a Hungarian-born American billionaire investor and philanthropist. , he had a net worth Net worth is the value of all the non-financial and financial asset In financial account ...
. Open Society Foundations financially support civil society groups around the world, with a stated aim of advancing justice, education, public health and independent media. The group's name is inspired by
Karl Popper Sir Karl Raimund Popper (28 July 1902 – 17 September 1994) was an Austrian-British philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as tho ...

Karl Popper
's 1945 book ''
The Open Society and Its Enemies ''The Open Society and Its Enemies'' is a work on political philosophy by the philosopher Karl Popper, in which the author presents a "defence of the open society against its enemies", and offers a critique of theories of teleology, teleological h ...
''.. The OSF has branches in 37 countries, encompassing a group of country and regional foundations, such as the
Open Society Initiative for West Africa The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) is an organization in West Africa. OSIWA was established in 2000 as a part of the global network of Soros Foundations. OSIWA claims to promote "open societies where democracy, good governance, th ...
, and the
Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) is a Southern African organization which "collaborates with other organizations on issues surrounding the rule of law, democracy building, human rights, economic development, education, the media, ...
; its headquarters are at
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224 West 57th Street
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New York City
. In 2018, OSF announced it was closing its European office in
Budapest Budapest (, ) is the capital and the List of cities and towns of Hungary, most populous city of Hungary, and the Largest cities of the European Union by population within city limits, ninth-largest city in the European Union by population with ...

and moving to
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, in response to legislation passed by the Hungarian government targeting the foundation's activities. Since its establishment in 1993, OSF has reported expenditures in excess of $16 billion mostly in grants towards
NGOs A non-governmental organization, or simply an NGO, is an organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of ...
, aligned with the organisation's mission.


On May 28, 1984, Soros signed a contract between the Soros Foundation (
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New York
) and the
Hungarian Academy of SciencesHungarian may refer to: * Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a country in Central Europe. It borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romania to the east and southeast, Serbia to the south, Croatia and Slovenia to the so ...

Hungarian Academy of Sciences
, the founding document of the Soros Foundation Budapest. This was followed by several foundations in the region to help countries move away from
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. In 1991, the foundation merged with the Fondation pour une Entraide Intellectuelle Européenne, an affiliate of the
Congress for Cultural Freedom The Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) was an anti-communist Anti-communism is a political movement and ideology opposed to communism. Organized anti-communism developed after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and it reached global dimensio ...
, created in 1966 to imbue 'non-conformist' Eastern European scientists with anti-totalitarian and capitalist ideas. Open Society Institute was created in the United States in 1993 to support the Soros foundations in Central Europe, Central and Eastern Europe and Russia. In August 2010, it started using the name Open Society Foundations (OSF) to better reflect its role as a benefactor for civil society groups in countries around the world. Soros believes there can be no absolute answers to political questions because the same principle of reflexivity (social theory), reflexivity applies as in financial markets. In 2012, Christopher Stone (criminal justice expert), Christopher Stone joined the OSF as the second president. He replaced Aryeh Neier, who served as president from 1993 to 2012. Stone announced in September 2017 that he was stepping down as president. In January 2018, Patrick Gaspard was appointed president of the Open Society Foundations. He announced in December 2020 that he was stepping down as president. In January 2021, Mark Malloch-Brown was appointed president of the Open Society Foundations. In 2016, the OSF was reportedly the target of a cyber security attack, cyber security breach. Documents and information reportedly belonging to the OSF were published by a website. The cyber security breach has been described as sharing similarities with Russian-linked cyberattacks that targeted other institutions, such as the 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak, Democratic National Committee. In 2017, Soros transferred $18 billion to the Foundation.


Its $873 million budget in 2013, ranked as the second-largest private philanthropy budget in the United States, after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation budget of $3.9 billion. As of 2020, its budget increased to $1.2 billion. The foundation reported granting at least $33 million to civil rights and social justice organizations in the United States. This funding included groups such as the Organization for Black Struggle and Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment that supported protests in the wake of the killing of Trayvon Martin, the death of Eric Garner, the shooting of Tamir Rice and the shooting of Michael Brown. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the OSF spends much of its resources on democratic causes around the world, and has also contributed to groups such as the Tides Foundation. OSF has been a major financial supporter of U.S. immigration reform, including establishing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. OSF projects have included the National Security and Human Rights Campaign and the Lindesmith Center, which conducted research on drug reform. The Library of Congress Soros Foundation Visiting Fellows Program was initiated in 1990. The OSF became a partner of the National Democratic Institute, a charitable organization which partnered with pro-democracy groups like the Gov2U project run by Scytl.

Reception and influence

In 2007, Nicolas Guilhot (a senior research associate of French National Centre for Scientific Research, CNRS) wrote in ''Critical Sociology (journal), Critical Sociology'' that the Open Society Foundations serve to perpetuate institutions that reinforce the existing social order, as the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation have done before them. Guilhot argues that control over the social sciences by moneyed interests has depoliticized this field and reinforced a capitalist view of modernization. An OSF effort in 2008 in the African Great Lakes region aimed at spreading human rights awareness among prostitution in Uganda, prostitutes in Uganda and other nations in the area was not received well by the Ugandan authorities, who considered it an effort to legalize and legitimize prostitution. Open Society Foundation has been criticized in pro-Israel editorials, Tablet Magazine, Arutz Sheva and Jewish Press, for including funding for the activist groups Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Adalah and Haneen Zoabi#Political career, I'lam, which they say are anti-Israel and support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Among the documents released by DCleaks, an OSF report reads "For a variety of reasons, we wanted to construct a diversified portfolio of grants dealing with Israel and State of Palestine, Palestine, funding both Israeli Jewish and PCI (Palestinian Citizens of Israel) groups as well as building a portfolio of Palestinian grants and in all cases to maintain a low profile and relative distance—particularly on the advocacy front." NGO Monitor, an Israeli NGO, produced a report which says, "Soros has been a frequent critic of Israeli government policy, and does not consider himself a Zionist, but there is no evidence that he or his family holds any special hostility or opposition to the existence of the state of Israel. This report will show that their support, and that of the Open Society Foundation, has nevertheless gone to organizations with such agendas." The report says its objective is to inform OSF, claiming: "The evidence demonstrates that Open Society funding contributes significantly to anti-Israel campaigns in three important respects: # Active in the Durban strategy; # Funding aimed at weakening United States support for Israel by shifting public opinion regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iran; # Funding for Israeli political opposition groups on the fringes of Israeli society, which use the rhetoric of human rights to advocate for marginal political goals." The report concludes, "Yet, to what degree Soros, his family, and the Open Society Foundation are aware of the cumulative impact on Israel and of the political warfare conducted by many of their beneficiaries is an open question." In 2015, Russia banned the activities of the Open Society Foundations on its territory, declaring "It was found that the activity of the Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation represents a threat to the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation and the security of the state". In 2017, Open Society Foundations and other NGOs that promote open government and help refugees have been targeted for crackdowns by authoritarian and populist governments who have been emboldened by encouraging signals from the Trump Administration. Several politicians in eastern Europe, including Liviu Dragnea in Romania and typically right-wing figures Szilard Nemeth (politician), Szilard Nemeth in Hungary, Republic of North Macedonia, North Macedonia's Nikola Gruevski, who called for a "de-Sorosization" of society, and Poland's Jarosław Kaczyński, who has said that Soros-funded groups want "societies without identity", regard many of the NGO groups to be irritants at best, and threats at worst. Some of those Soros-funded advocacy groups in the region say the renewed attacks are harassment and intimidation, which became more open after the election of Donald Trump in the United States. Stefania Kapronczay of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, which receives half of its funding from Soros-backed foundations, claims that Hungarian officials are "testing the waters" in an effort to see "what they can get away with." In 2017, the government of Pakistan ordered the Open Society Foundation to cease operations within the country. In May 2018, Open Society Foundations announced they will move its office from Budapest to
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

, amid Hungarian government interference. In November 2018, Open Society Foundations announced they are ceasing operations in Turkey and closing their İstanbul and Ankara offices due to "false accusations and speculations beyond measure", amid pressure from Turkish government and governmental interference through detainment of Turkish intellectuals and liberal academics claimed to be associated with the foundation and related NGOs, associations and programmes.

See also

* Alliance for Open Society International * Blinken Open Society Archives * Budapest Open Access Initiative * Central European University * Colour revolution * Directory of Open Access Journals *
George Soros George Soros, (born György Schwartz, August 12, 1930) is a Hungarian-born American billionaire investor and philanthropist. , he had a net worth Net worth is the value of all the non-financial and financial asset In financial account ...
* Open Society Institute-Baltimore * Open society * Tides Foundation * Transparency International * Transparify


Further reading * . * . * . * . * . * . * . * * Diane Stone, Stone, Diana (2013) ''Knowledge Actors and Transnational Governance: The Private-Public Policy Nexus in the Global Agora''. Palgrave Macmillan

External links

Open Society Foundations official website

Blinken Open Society Archives
{{Authority control Civic organizations George Soros Non-profit technology Political and economic research foundations in the United States Organizations established in 1993 Global policy organizations Grants (money) Undesirable organizations in Russia